From far, from eve and morning
And yon twelve-winded sky,
The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither: here am I.
Now — for a breath I tarry
Nor yet disperse apart —
Take my hand quick and tell me
What have you in your heart.
Speak now, and I will answer;
How shall I help you, say;
Ere to the wind’s twelve quarters
I take my endless way.
— “From Far” (A Shropshire Lad), by A. E. Housman
The Rose of the Twelve Greek Winds:
Lo! ’t is a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.
— From The Conqueror Worm, by Edgar Allen Poe
The worm, turns.
Through the darkness of future’s past,
The magician longs to see.
One chants out between two worlds…
“Fire… walk with me.”
— Mike from Twin Peaks
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.
— From Burnt Norton by T. S. Eliot
Time is a child playing dice.
A rose I give to you
This rose so fresh with fragrance rare,
Its petals bringing joy to you
The fairest of the fair.
Oh roses are like memories
They fade and pass above
But you dear heart will e’er remain
My fading flower of forgotten love.
— Fading Flower of Forgotten Love by Agnes Ellicott Strong
John Crowley (author of the AEgypt Tetralogy) has mentioned several times in his books a curious list: dogs, stones, stars, and roses. What can he mean by this?
I propose this is a metaphor (Meta-four?) for the four colors of the Magnum Opus: yellow dogs, black stones, white stars, and red roses.
At least until I find out otherwise!
I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.
— Richard Brautigan from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace
O Fortune, like the moon you are changable,
ever waxing and waning, hateful life,
first oppresses and then soothes as fancy takes it;
poverty and power it melts them like ice.
— From Carmina Burana
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
— From “The Hollow Men” by T. S. Eliot
All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see,
All discord, harmony not understood,
All partial evil, universal good…
— From An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope
I was struck by the four divisions that the poet makes in the world, and how it echoes many other of the fourfolds shown here. Ignoring whether you think the former or the latter extreme of each division is correct, consider the aspect of the world that each division ranges over. Between nature and art lies the material and the parts of the world, either naturally occurring or fashioned by some intention. Between chance and direction lies the individual actions and occurrences of the world, either merely haphazard or towards something. Between discord and harmony lies structures of those materials and parts, and between evil and good lies functional arrangements of those acts and occurrences.